Dirk Jan de Geer

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Jhr. Dirk Jan de Geer (born 14 December, 1870 - died 28 November, 1960) was a lawyer, conservative statesman and prime minister of The Netherlands (19261929, 19391940). He was disgraced for attempting to negotiate a peace settlement between the Kingdom and Nazi Germany in 1940.

Born in Groningen, he was a a descendant of the de Geer family painted by Rembrandt. After receiving his doctorate in law in 1895, De Geer worked as a journalist and acted as town councillor of Rotterdam (19011907). He served as a Christian Historical (CHU)member of Parliament.

De Geer was a stable and respected politician before the war. However he was not suited for the role of prime minister of a nation at war. When the Germans attacked the Netherlands on 10 May 1940, he fled the country three days later.

When in London, he continually tried to negotiate a separate peace between the Netherlands and the Third Reich. He damaged the Dutch government and the Dutch morale by openly stating that the war could never be won. Finally he was removed from office on the instigation of the iron-willed Queen Wilhelmina, and replaced by Gerbrandy.

Later on, he was sent with a diplomatic package to the Dutch East Indies, present day Indonesia. On a stop in Portugal he left, and returned to his family in the Netherlands with the permission of the Germans. This greatly angered Queen Wilhelmina, who called him a traitor and deserter to the Dutch cause. He later wrote a controversial leaflet with "instructions" for the people on how to work together with the Germans. Wilhelmina warned him that after the liberation, he would be put on trial if published.

Eventually he was accused and brought to trial. He was found guilty and stripped of all of his honorary titles. He died some 15 years later in Soest, bitter and still believing in his own innocence.

 
Prime Ministers of the Netherlands Image:Flag of the Netherlands.svg
Kappeyne van de Coppello | Van Lynden van Sandenburg | Heemskerk Azn. | Mackay | Van Tienhoven | Roëll | Pierson | Kuyper | De Meester | Heemskerk | Cort van der Linden | Ruijs de Beerenbrouck | Colijn | De Geer | Gerbrandy | Schermerhorn | Beel | Drees | De Quay | Marijnen | Cals | Zijlstra | De Jong | Biesheuvel | Den Uyl | Van Agt | Lubbers | Kok | Balkenende
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Dirk Jan de Geer

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